RARA-AVIS: Cozies and hardboiled, and Pelcanos (was Unrelated ...)

William Denton (buff@vex.net)
Thu, 16 Jul 1998 20:40:20 -0400 (EDT) On Thu, 16 Jul 1998, Mario Taboada wrote:

: While theoretically Chandler's essay gave the kiss of death to the
: cozy genre, in practice it did not. Long before Chandler, Hammett
: had roasted Van Dine in a very "hardboiled" review of one of his
: books.

Do you have any details on this? I don't think I've read it. Eddie
Duggan mailed me some Hammett material a while back, and I thought it
might have been in there, but if it was, I've mislaid it.

: I think the distinction between the classic cozy and the classic
: hardboiled lies to a large extent in authorial voice, in the "slant"
: if you will.

That and, I'd have to add, the characters (fewer vicars and
sherry-sipping spinsters in hardboiled fiction, fewer Purple Gangs and
hoods in cozies) and "clews." From what I've seen, they can be quite
important in cozies, and on the whole they're much less important in
hardboiled stories.

Doug Levin mentioned he had recently finished his first novel, and I
must admit I recently finished mine. In it, I have one guy relate a
story, which is actually Conan Doyle's "The Norfolk Builder"
translated into stereotypical hardboiled lingo. Holmes becomes a
tough dick, Watson is his friend "Doc," London becomes San Francisco,
Lestrade becomes the standard sarcastic cop. The idea works fair
well, I think.

On another note, I picked up a couple of the early Matt Scudder novels
today - one is _When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, which I'm really
looking forward to reading. I saw _King Suckerman_, the new one by
George Pelecanos. I know people have mentioned him here and he's
well-liked - has anyone read this?


William Denton | Toronto, Canada | http://www.vex.net/~buff/ | Caveat lector.
            "Let's keep the party polite."

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